Mildred Shay
American actor
Mildred Shay
Mildred Helen Shay was an American film actress, most famous for her 1930s off-camera exploits. The five-foot-two actress was dubbed "Pocket Venus" by gossip columnist Walter Winchell.
Mildred Shay's personal information overview.
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  • 2005
    Age 93
    Died on October 15, 2005.
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  • 2004
    Age 92
    Her final public appearance was the National Film Theatre's 2004 tribute to her favorite director, George Cukor.
    More Details Hide Details Shay died at the age of 94 in California while visiting her daughter, Georgiana Waller, the ex-wife of musician Gordon Waller.
    Shay suffered a stroke in 2004.
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  • 1999
    Age 87
    Her last film was 1999's Parting Shots.
    More Details Hide Details Although mostly an ingenue screen actress, Shay became well-publicized for her social life and romances. She was chauffeured around Hollywood in a Mercedes-Benz limousine, to the studios as well as parties and events. Although of diminutive stature, her beauty attracted many admirers, and Walter Winchell dubbed her "Hollywood's Pocket Venus". Shay's dates included Errol Flynn, Howard Hughes, Johnny Weismuller, Victor Mature, Roy Rogers and Cecil B. DeMille.
  • 1976
    Age 64
    In 1976, director Ken Russell asked her to play an "aged American desperate for attention" in Valentino, his biography of Rudolph Valentino, in which she got to dance with the film's star, Rudolph Nureyev.
    More Details Hide Details Shay continued to act and make small appearances over the next 30 years including appearances in Candleshoe (1977), Superman III (1983), Death Wish 3 (1985), Little Shop of Horrors (1986) and Bullseye! (1990).
  • 1974
    Age 62
    She appeared in the 1974 remake of The Great Gatsby.
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  • 1968
    Age 56
    In 1968 she returned to acting with a small role in the Julie Andrews film Star!
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  • 1948
    Age 36
    After moving to England during World War II, and except for the 1948 film I Killed the Count, Shay gave up acting for the next two decades.
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  • 1939
    Age 27
    Shay took a break from acting during her first marriages. After the second ended, she acted on Broadway in The Sap Runs High. She then returned to Hollywood in 1939 to play Joan Crawford's scene-stealing French maid in The Women.
    More Details Hide Details According to Shay, her friend Groucho Marx thought she had a gift for comedy and offered to write material for her, but Shay refused because she wanted to be known as a "serious" actress.
  • 1936
    Age 24
    Shay remarried in 1936 to Winthrop Gardiner, a member of a prominent New York family descended from Lord Lion Gardiner. After only six months, Shay filed for divorce because of Gardiner's much-publicized affair with ice skater Sonja Henie whom he later married. In 1940, Shay met British army captain Geoffrey Steele and fell in love. The couple married in 1941 amid speculation and bets by the tabloid magazines about how long the union would last.
    More Details Hide Details Shay said, "Most gave it 3 to 6 months. Nobody gave us forty years." The couple remained married until Steel died in 1987. During World War II, Shay moved to England with Steele where she gave birth to a daughter, Georgiana. Over the next few decades she frequented Buckingham Palace and became a prominent figure in London society circles.
  • 1934
    Age 22
    Shay married Thomas Francis Murphy in 1934.
    More Details Hide Details Murphy has been described as an attractive Irishman as well as a drunken philanderer who accumulated large debts. The marriage ended within the year.
  • 1911
    Born in 1911.
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